From the Office of the President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis
For nearly 40 years, GLAAD’s mission has been to increase fair and accurate LGBTQ representation across all forms of media. Our founders knew that media exposure would drive acceptance and understanding of our community. GLAAD has successfully worked with networks, studios, talent and content creators in news and Hollywood for decades to grow fair and accurate representation of LGBTQ people and has expanded our advocacy into other media industries including advertising, social media, corporate communications, and theater in more recent years. In today’s fragmented media world, media includes more platforms, touchpoints, and opportunities to see ourselves represented and GLAAD is a trusted resource and expert on representation and the media itself.
We cannot move what we do not measure. This is why our annual reports, like Where We Are on TV, the Studio Responsibility Index, the Advertising Visibility Index, and now our State of LGBTQ Inclusivity in Gaming Report, measure LGBTQ representation in these forms of media. Similarly, our Social Media Safety Index documents LGBTQ safety across social media platforms. We are transparent about our measurement and are collaborative with industry leaders and businesses. This report was created to educate the game industry on the current state of LGBTQ representation that exists, make a facts-based business case for LGBTQ inclusion, and provide a playbook for more authentic representation.
Statista data shows that the estimated global revenue of gaming surpasses that of filmed entertainment and recorded music combined.1 For both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ Gen Z and Millennial gamers, their weekly time spent gaming rivals the amount of time they spend watching TV. According to a 2023 gaming report by YPulse, a Gen Z- and Millennial-focused market research firm, gamers spend 8 hours watching TV and 7 hours playing console games each week. 95% of young consumers play video games2 and the most recent Gallup poll shows that 1 in 5 members of Gen Z are LGBTQ.3
Our research with Nielsen this year found that 17%—nearly 1 in 5—active gamers are LGBTQ. And yet, in our analysis of currently available console games, we found that games with LGBTQ characters or storylines account for less than 2% of all games. We are nearly invisible in game representations despite being a significant percentage of gamers.
LGBTQ gamers also experience alarming levels of harassment. This must change. GLAAD, together with game companies and industry leaders on our Game Advisory Council, is committed to not only increase LGBTQ representation in games, but create a safer gaming culture for LGBTQ gamers. The interactive nature of games, the opportunity to build community in gaming, and the long history of LGBTQ game industry professionals makes this medium a uniquely powerful tool for LGBTQ people to safely discover, connect, and express themselves. Particularly for LGBTQ gamers, gaming can not only be an escape and source of entertainment, but also an important outlet of self-expression. This is pronounced and urgent for LGBTQ gamers who live in places around the world where antiLGBTQ violence is rising or in states where anti-LGBTQ legislation has been introduced. More than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in states across the U.S. in 2023. Rhetoric and legislation limiting access to healthcare, education, books, and other resources limits freedoms and sparks increases in hate rhetoric, discrimination, and violence.
We developed this report and the GLAAD Media Institute’s Gaming program as a resource for the critical need to increase the representation and options for LGBTQ characters and storylines in games. Games should include an array of characters and stories, including LGBTQ ones, and every gamer should be safe. Thank you for your partnership to make this vision a reality.
Thank you for your support.